It took almost 30 years for Lacoste to manufacture shirts in colors other than white. By 1951, fans of the brand started to see various colors of the same shirt, and still with the same familiar crocodile logo.
Lacoste is a French company, founded in 1933 by tennis player René Lacoste and André Gillier. It sells clothing, footwear, sportswear, eyewear, leather goods, perfume, towels and watches. The company can be recognised by its green crocodile logo. René Lacoste, the company's founder, was nicknamed "the Crocodile" by fans because of his tenacity on the tennis court. In November 2012 Lacoste was bought outright by Swiss family-held group Maus Frères.
René Lacoste founded La Chemise Lacoste in 1933 with André Gillier, the owner and president of the largest French knitwear manufacturing firm at the time. They began to produce the revolutionary tennis shirt Lacoste had designed and worn on the tennis courts with the crocodile logo embroidered on the chest. The company claims this as the first example of a brand name appearing on the outside of an article of clothing. Starting in the 1950s, Izod produced clothing known as Izod Lacoste under license for sale in the U.S. This partnership ended in 1993 when Lacoste regained exclusive U.S. rights to distribute shirts under its own brand. In 1977, Le Tigre Clothing was founded in an attempt to directly compete with Lacoste in the US market, selling a similar array of clothing, but featuring a tiger in place of the signature Lacoste crocodile.
More recently, Lacoste's popularity has surged due to French designer Christophe Lemaire's work to create a more modern, upscale look. In 2005, almost 50 million Lacoste products sold in over 110 countries.
Bernard Lacoste became seriously ill in early 2005, which led him to transfer the presidency of Lacoste to his younger brother and closest collaborator for many years, Michel Lacoste. Bernard died in Paris on 21 March 2006.
Lacoste licenses its trademark to various companies. Until recently, Devanlay owned the exclusive worldwide clothing license, though today Lacoste Polo Shirts are also manufactured under licence in Thailand by ICC and also in China. Pentland Group has the exclusive worldwide license to produce Lacoste footwear, Coty Inc. owns the exclusive worldwide license to produce fragrance, and CEMALAC holds the license to produce Lacoste bags and small leather goods.